Faszination Modellbau 2010

PETER REVILL reports from Karlsruhe, Germany

Once again the Surface Warship Association (SWA) were invited to make their annual trip to Germany, but not to Sinsheim as in previous years. The Sinsheim facility is currently being redeveloped and a brand new exhibition centre with four halls has been built on the outskirts of Karlsruhe. These halls are each of 162.5 x 74.5 metres and are 17.8 metres high and there is parking for 7000 cars. Only three of the halls were in use for this exhibition, held in March of this year.


We all met at the Maidstone services on the M20 for the journey to Germany at 0800hrs on Tuesday 23rd March, setting off for the ferry in a convoy of two vans, loaded with 39 models and also two cars. The journey was uneventful and we arrived at our hotel in Ettlingen at about 2100hrs, tired and hungry, but well satisfied with ourselves.

Setting up the stand on the Wednesday afternoon took nearly three hours, but when completed it looked very impressive. We had more space this year than we have had in the past and the task of setting up was made much easier by being able to drive the vans into the hall to enable us to unload alongside the stand.

The show

This runs for four days, Thursday to Sunday inclusive and is open from 1000hrs to 1800hrs daily. This was hard work, but there was a lot of interest in the British warship models from the German public. Of the three halls being used, one was shared by boats and cars/trucks etc., one was primarily aircraft and general radio control supplies and one was primarily for railway modelling. Traders were positioned throughout each of the three halls, with specialist stands in the appropriate hall, but the more general modelling suppliers were spread over all three halls. Therefore, there was no excuse for not visiting all the display areas!

Boat hall

Here there was a good selection of club displays including ourselves, together with a large pool of approx 30 x 30 metres and was a metre deep, which had a full programme of events on each day. One of these was the Red Indians versus the Settlers battle which was back after a gap of two years. Whilst the models had improved somewhat, the display was much the same, but was still extremely popular and it drew very large crowds. The SWA were allocated a 30 minute slot each day during which a good selection of our models were sailed. During one of these was the maiden voyage of Bob Jenner’s new model of HMS Illustrious.
Around the hall were some very nice model dioramas, one good one being of a general port scene and just around the corner was an excellent model of the Dutch Royal Yacht De Groene Draeck, the detailing on which was superb but unfortunately the scale of it was not listed. On another stand there was a very nice 1:50 scale model of the German cruiser Nurnberg and once again, the detailing was first class.
For something different and to show just how far battery technology has now developed, I came across a model of Drambuie on Ice which according to the details supplied is a Class One powerboat built to a scale of 1:8. It is powered by twin brushless motors producing 8000 watts of power and capable of a top speed of 150 km/hr. Now that is quite a speed! I also came across an MTB and a selection of fittings for this new model built by Jurgen Eichart. The fittings were all handmade from scratch, the quality of which was second to none, and which he told us represented 15 years work. Now, that’s dedication for you!
Two of the trade stands in particular took my interest. First, a company called Steba (www.steba.eu) who manufacture a range of boat fittings. Their brass anchors and barred anchor chain are of excellent quality. I purchased this chain from them in Dortmund (Intermodellbau) approx seven years ago, but have not seen them since that time again until this year. You can get a translation for part of their website and they will ship to UK.
Second, was a manufacturer marketing a new radio control system primarily designed for trucks using 2.4GHz Bluetooth. The manufacturer is Brixlelektronik (www.brixlelektronik.de) and the unit they now market has 39 (yes 39!) fully proportional channels available for use. According to their website, the receiver unit will work with a range of up to 100 metres.

Whether this equipment is suitable for model boats is not confirmed, although the company representatives seemed to think there was no reason why it should not work perfectly well in a marine environment. However (and there is always a however!) there is one major disincentive, namely the price with the cheapest set being 1245 Euros! Having said that, no doubt for those who build models with multiple working features, this piece of kit may well be ideal.


The feedback from the organisers was that they were very pleased with the SWA display and involvement and that they considered our stand to be one of the best in the show. From our point of view, this event is well worth supporting with a good range of traders from which our modelling requirements can all be met. The environment was very pleasant and well worth the journey and friendships created. The SWA can be found at: www.surface-warships.org.uk.